This is a topic that was requested by our friends in Boston, Mass.! They wanted to know how people in the city that don't have much land can still grow food.
Here are some techniques that you can use if you have limited space where you live.
First thing you should do is find out what kind of plants you want to grow. What do you eat? What USDA zone do you live in? Will what you want to grow survive in your area? Once you have determined if the plant you want to grow will survive in your area, then look for small varieties (like tophat blueberries). If you want to get fruit trees then get dwarf varieties. The columnnar Apple will set fruit on a single vertical stick. No branching means very limited space needs.
You also want to look for plants that have a quick turnaround, meaning from planting to harvesting is a short amount of time (radishes for instance). Take advantage of the vertical space on your balcony or small backyard. Use trellises to grow plants vertically. Plant companion plants together in a pot so you can get up to three different harvests from one pot. Use window boxes to plant outside of windows, or use window boxes on the outside rail of a balcony. You can also layer your plants in front of your window. Meaning put short plants on the windowsill, then put tall plants behind those on the floor, and hanging plants from the top of the window. Hanging baskets are a great way to free up floor space!
There are many edible houseplants that you can use such as citrus or dwarf bananas.
To the person who is serious about growing food at home there are many ways to grow your own healthy produce.
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In today's episode we talk about five veggies that are ultra cold hardy.
The first veggie we talk about is carrots. The tops can handle frost but the roots are the hardy part. If you want to overwinter your carrots you will need to apply a thick layer of mulch over the roots for the winter. That also keeps the ground unfrozen for easier harvest. Remember that the shorter and fatter the root the better it will do in clay soils or hard soils.
The second vegetable we cover is spinach. Spinach is surprisingly cold hardy. If you want to continue to eat winter salads with spinach in them then cover them with a low hoop house/tunnel. The rule of thumb with spinach is the flat leafed/smooth leaf are more tender. Savoyed leaves are more cold hardy.
The third plant we cover is Swiss chard. With Swiss chard the green or white plants are more cold hardy. The variety of plant that we cover is the Verde de Taglio. People really like this variety because it has a mild flavor and is very cold hardy www.rareseeds.com has it for three dollars a packet.
Our fourth vegetable is the mighty parsnip. Parsnips are very cold hardy and are best after a frost. They look like a white carrot, and go well in/with mashed potatoes.
The last plant we cover is the leek. With the leek, the dark green or blue varieties are more cold hardy than the light green ones. The Tadorna Leek is the variety that we cover today from high mowing seeds. It is a winter leek and a favorite of growers in the Northeast.
Remember to always do your homework when selecting a plant variety. There are lots of companies offering seeds and lots and lots of varieties out there!
Here are the websites I promised you:
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In today's episode we talk about cooking from scratch. More important than the things you have are the skills you develop.
When you cook from scratch, your food storage is more versatile. You can make a lot of things from simple ingredients. Simple ingredients means fewer preservatives which equals better health. It's important to know what's in your food and cooking from scratch means not only do you know what's in your food, but you might even know where it came from and how it was produced/grown/processed.
It's way more cost-effective to cook from scratch. Lindsay makes meal plans every week. This helps her no what to buy from the store so we can cook from scratch. Some of the most common things we make from scratch are: biscuits, pancakes, cornbread, cookies, brownies, cakes, pizza, gravy, soups, stir-fry, stroganoff, eggnog, and lots more.
What's even better than cooking from scratch is making a meal that you grew and processed yourself. There is truly a sense of independence and liberty that I wish more people could feel.
Thank you for listening today and if there is anything that you cook from scratch and would like to share with the homesteading community please comment on our website which is www.havenhomestead.com.
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Today's episode is about the top five homestead kitchen tools that we use in our homestead kitchen.
The first item I talk about is a 12 inch cast iron skillet with lid. We like the Lodge brand. You can find one on Amazon for $21.42. The lids are around $31. You can season your cast-iron with vegetable oil or shortening. To season any piece of cast iron you cover it in oil or shortening/lard, then put it in your oven at 325° for an hour, let it cool down as the oven cools. Keep the oven closed so the pan cools down slowly. NEVER wash cast iron with soap!
The second item is a high-quality cutting board. I recommend using cutting boards made from hardwoods. The one that we make here on the homestead are made from maple and black walnut. The hardwoods save the edge of your knife and look great in your kitchen. You just have to remember to treat it with oil. We use butcher block conditioner that has mineral oil and beeswax in it.
Our third item is a spurtle. It is a tool that goes way back to 16th or 17th century Scotland as a oatcake turner. it has since changed into a dowel-like stirring stick. We make and promote the earlier design here. It is on our website under the store tab. It is used for scraping, stirring, turning, frosting, straining, and smacking the hands that try to sneak a taste of the batter.
Our fourth item are high quality kitchen shears. There are two brands that we would like to try but we don't have. One is the Red Yeti brand and the other is The Artful Homemaker brand. An important hallmark of good kitchen shears is they need to be multipurpose, and easy to take apart for cleaning. Both of these do just that.
The last item on our list are high quality kitchen knives with a decent sharpener/steel rod. I suggest looking at yard sales in order to find high carbon knives. You can recognize a high carbon knife because they usually have patina or rust on them. These type of knives keep an edge for a long time and you can get them freaky sharp. You want to stay away from stainless steel because it dulls easily and is made from soft metal.
If you have some favorite kitchen tools please tell us about them in the comments.
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Chris Hodge is our Radio DJ here at Haven Homestead.